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Presbyterial government, that it was freely &t openly tendred to them; this is strange news to us here, for we hear not one word of that offer from those Petitioners, although here are letters from some of them dated since M. Windows comming from thence, that relates that Dr. Child & others of them remained still in prison, save that D. Child hath the liberty to be confined to M. Leders house upon security of 800.1. bond being given for his abiding there. For a conclusion of this Postscript, I shall desire the Reader by all that hath been said, to observe how Independents are all of a peece, for subtilitie, desines, fallacies, both in New-England and in Old.
Of a New and Unusual
PRESBYTERIAN MINISTERS: And Prosecution of
Mr. Francis Makemie
One of them, for Preaching one SERMON at the City of NEW-YORK.
By a Learner of Law, and Lover of Liberty.
Printed for the Publisher. 1707.
YOU have here a Specimen of the Cloggs &. Fetters with which the Liberty of Dissenters are intangled at New-York and Jersey-Governments beyond any places in Her Majesties Dominions; And when the Conditions, and Impositions required, are as heavy, and uneasy to be bore; and as great a Scruple of Conscience, as the grounds of their Separation and Dissent, it is next to no Liberty at all.
And what the Consequences of such practices, if persisted in, will prove to such a Place, where Dissenters are above twenty to one, for one Church-man, and where men and money are so much wanting, for the defence of New-York, both by Sea and Land, which not many years, (by demands of men and money from the Neighbouring Colonies on the Continent) was represented, as their only Barrier and Frontier, I leave to thinking men, and considering Politicians to answer; besides the difficulties and discouragements laid in the way of snch as would Import themselves, and the ready and shortest way to promote Deserters from those Provinces.
I cannot omit a true, and strange Story, I lately heard of, that during the Imprisonment of these two Gentlemen, either to find out a Crime, none being specifyed in the Mittimus, or to aggravate their imaginary fault: An Order was given to Major Sandford of East-Jersey, to put sundry persons upon Examination, and their Oalhs, to discover what Discourse they had with sundry of their friends, at the House of Mr. Jasper Crana in New- York-Town in East-Jersey, where Mr. Samuel Melyen, Mr. Crane, and another, gave their Depositions before Major Sandford, but found nothing to their purpose: Tho the practice is not to be outdone, yea, scarce paralelled by Spanish Inquisition; for no men are safe in their most private Conversations, if most intimate Friends can be compelled upon Oath, to betray one anothers Secrets. If this is agreeable to English Constitution and Priviledges, 1 confess, we have been hitherto in the Dark.
Preaching in a Private House was a Crime, and Preaching since, after being declared Not Guilty by a Legal Tryal, in a Publick Church, allowed by Law to the French, is since resented as a greater, by that Unchristian Clamour, made soon after, by some High-flown Spark's pretended Sons of the Church, who with a great deal of unbounded fury declared, If such things were allowed, their Church was, ruined: Which is a language of the same nature of those High-Flyers in England, who were declared by a Vote of the House of Lords, Enemies to the QUEEN and Government, for suggesting, the Church of England was in danger, from the Liberty, or Toleration of Dissenters.
Tho' Preaching a Sermon, and Printing it as the cause of Imprisonment, be reputed a Libel, to justifie opening of Letters, and seizing Books, without restoration or satisfaction. I hope it will be no crime, for Losers to speak, in telling the World, what we have suffered on sundry accounts; not only by Imprisonment, and the exorbitant expensive prosecution ; and besides great loss of time, many diminitive reproaches upon our Reputations, by a Set of men, who could reach by their Short Horns to no higher degree of Persecution: And all this for Preaching one Sermon, without obtaining a License, which they could not, in terminis submit to, neither can nor dare in Conscience do to this day.
And even for such as have this new moulded License, it is a Crime to Preach in another place then is expressed in said Licence, or for any to Preach in their Pulpits: if a People wants a Minister, they must have a Licence to call one, whither from New-England or Europe, a License to admit Ministers to attend any Ordination, and limited for number, and tyed up from exercising their Ministry without Licence, tho' in a transient manner, which has drove some out of the Government, and deterred others from coming thereunto; which informs all, what Liberty of Conscience Dissenters do enjoy.
Mr. Makemie since the Tryal, narrowly escaped a second Prosecution, for Preaching another Sermon: as some say, with a new Charge of being the Author of the Jersey Paper called, FORGETaad FORGIVE; which is so groundless a Charge, in which his accusers cannot believe themselves, while the Authors smile at the mistake, and other men are suffering Imprisonment on account of said Paper, and will appear to have been composed before Mr. Makemie came into these Parts.
This Narrative consists chiefly of these parts for matter. (1.)